Special Report: Abta tips high demand for Marrakech convention

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer expects this year’s Travel Convention in Marrakech to be more in demand than most after the challenges of the pandemic

He forecast “huge pent-up demand for people to get together” after two years of being unable to.

The Moroccan convention was originally scheduled for 2020 and Tanzer noted: “There was excitement then. There is huge enthusiasm now.”

He pointed out: “A lot has happened in the two years, not just Covid, and this is an opportunity to bring together industry practitioners and outside people to debate the issues and take home information and tips for running our own businesses.”

MoreFormer MP Rory Stewart to speak at Travel Convention

The structure of the convention will follow a familiar pattern, examining ‘Our World’, ‘Our Industry’ and ‘Your Business’. But some of the issues discussed will be anything but familiar.

Tanzer explained: “We’re heading potentially into stagflation – high inflation and relatively low growth – and some people are talking about recession. We haven’t seen stagflation for a while [since the 1970s].”

He added: “Energy security has suddenly become an issue. Nobody thought fuel bills could possibly go up by £1,000. How do you insulate yourselves from huge sudden increases? What are the energy strategies for the UK?

“There is broader geopolitical change going on. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed people’s concept of the world order. It’s a very different world suddenly. What does that mean?

“We’ll be looking at the new world of work, not just hybrid working but the intensification of the war for talent.

“We’ll be talking about climate change, the challenge of decarbonising and ESG [environmental, social and governance] investment. Suddenly every investment manager is talking about ESG, and companies are going to have to respond. But how credible is it?

“Bringing it down to the industry focus, what about the business model? Are there going to be more direct sales? What strategies are there for agencies and tour operators? Are agents going to choose niches?

“There is a household income squeeze, it’s going to impact young families more than older people who have bought their homes. Will there be a shift in the market? Will sectors which have an older demographic fare better? We have more-polarised income distribution. Are people going to focus on high-net-worth customers?”

All this, set against “the vibrant life of a North African city”, will make for a special convention, he believes.

Tanzer said: “Marrakech is a fantastic city. The surrounding area, the Atlas Mountains, offers incredible destinations. Morocco is a very hospitable nation. I’ve no doubt they will give us an experience we won’t forget.”

Attendees can still enjoy the ‘early bird’ rate of £600 (Abta members) or £700 (non-members) by registering now.

MoreFormer MP Rory Stewart to speak at Travel Convention

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